As we prepare to leave Korea, likely Asia altogether, we decided to take one more beautiful trip through Southeast Asia to soak up all the warmth, good food and culture it has to offer. This trip accomplished multiple goals for us, seeing friends, job fairs and travel, so be aware that our itinerary reflects some of that.
This was one of our medium favorite trips. Rating trips is so very hard because a lot of times what you love about a trip has little to do with where you are, if that makes sense. We spend a lot of this trip relaxing and resting as this was what we needed in this time. So we did little but experienced a lot.
Below is our 1 Second video with lots of little clips from fun, little moments of our trip. I love capturing these videos and being able to tell a real live story without a ton of work.
When I plan our trips I like to think big picture, details, emergencies and go with the flow…all at once. I use these planners to help walk me through every aspect of dreaming, planning, prepping, packing, documenting and sharing. Grab a set for yourself now!
Below is our itinerary through Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand. As I add more posts they will be linked. Please ask any travel questions you have in the comments!
Days 1-5: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
We were here to see a friend and to teach a class for her staff. She works for AIM and it is an incredible organization doing some amazing things for the community of Svay Pak. This was one the most difficult but more memorable parts of our trip. We toured their community and got to see first hand the incredible work they are doing to stop sex trafficking and provide healing, restoration, education and new lives for the women, children and pimps in this neighborhood. While in Phnom Penh we spent time on the river, the palace, the museum, the Killing Fields and shopping in the markets. This city was our least favorite city of our trip as it was incredibly busy and someone tried to rob us and there was not a lot to do past the few tourist stops. If you are planning a trip here, I would suggest about 3 days to do all the above activities.
Day 5: Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville to Koh Rong Sam Loem
We took a private taxi to Sihouniksville, as all the buses filled up quickly, but it was a great choice. Very cheap and is a personal car, so you are alone and can stop when you need and go exactly where you need to go. We spent the afternoon here, there isn’t much to do in the city but there is a cute boardwalk area with shops, food and the beach. We stayed around the pier and took our ferry to Koh Rong Sam Loem. A word about the ferry, you can book online or in person. I would suggest prebooking but be sure to leave lots of extra time. Also the ferries are completely unreliable so DO NOT have a tight schedule…keep reading. We used this company.
Day 5-8: Koh Rong Sam Loem
Best part of our trip, hands down. This smaller island is not developed at all and only has a line of small bungalows on the beach with tiny restaurants. It is beautiful and had the exact atmosphere we were hoping for: relaxed, good food, nothing to do. You can rent kayaks and do snorkel tours, but the main attraction is the beach and reading. We stayed here and were very happy with our stay, but there are some incredibly cool bungalows depending on your price range on the island. We absolutely suggest staying here and not Koh Rong.
Day 8: Koh Rong Sam Loem to Sihanoukville to Siem Reap
We did not book in country travel tickets before leaving for our trip but decided to figure it out when we got there. Once we realized that it was a 9 hour bus ride to Siem Reap, but opted for a cheap, 1 hour flight. But the aforementioned unreliable ferry didnt run on time and put us on a ‘party boat’ which literally sat about 50 feet offshort and had a foam party while we watched our airplane take off without us….so we got into a taxi, frantically, and drove around to bus stations until we found an overnight sleeper bus for $17 each and had a pretty decent nights rest and woke up in Siem Reap.
Day 9-12: Siem Reap
We honest to goodness loved our time here because we stayed at the most jungalicious villas and we sat at the pool for 2 days. We did the 1 day temple tour and went to a dinner + dance show. We could not recommend our hotel more to you! Pub street or King street was very close and had some great food, a market and lots of street vendors to wander through. The temple tours have many options, but at a few points I really thought ‘all these are starting to look the same’. So if you are short on time or can’t look at about more than 10 temples before you glaze over, the 1 day tour is perfect.
Day 12: Hanoi, Vietnam
We booked an amazing package, here but directly through their website, that included everything from airport pickup and return and everything in between. We flew into Hanoi had the evening and left for our cruise the next morning.
Days 13-15: Ha Long Bay
This 3 day, 2 night cruise through Ha Long Bay was one of the highlights of our trip! It was beautiful, fun and delicious. People always say they cannot believe this place is real….because it truly is unreal how beautiful it is. All the activities are arranged and there is plenty of downtime on the boat and so much food. It’s a bay, so it’s not really sailing, you are really just sleeping on a boat that is sitting in water more than sailing…but still, amazing. We went kayaking, went on boat tours, cave tours, learned to make spring rolls, went squid fishing and ate and ate.
Day 16: Hanoi
We were very happy to spend one afternoon and one last full day in Hanoi. I was not feeling well, so we got a late checkout, but still had plenty of time to explore. Our hotel was right beside the lake, so we went to the palace and the puppet show. The puppet show is likely my favorite event from the trip, don’t miss it. We also ate street food, best pho of our life, and got massages at a fancy (but still oh so cheap) spa while we were here. We had other friends spend their break here and they said 1-2 is enough to explore the city, but there are plenty of day trips you can easily arrange from the city if you stay longer.
Day 17-21: Bangkok, Thailand
Oh Bangkok, we meet again. We flew here as the train was a very loooooong ride. This was our second trip here and we stayed in the exact same area as before but we were here for the job fair. I spent most of my time at the pool reading, but we did go to the Chatuckak market. Which was cool but also huge/overwhelming and not what we expected from the markets in Chiang Mai. These were either more touristy junk or very cool, local handmade fair trade type items, but we wandered for ours and never found the more traditional Thai items we were hoping for. You can easily spend a whole day here and eat. As foreigners Bangkok is a great city as everything is very well designed for your ease and there are so many options, as any large city has, but my advice is to keep going and see as much of Thailand’s beautiful countryside as you can. More about our big Thailand trip here.
Day 21: Seoul! South Korea
We travelled home on this last day and I have learned that direct flights are the best and so is getting home in time to actually have some time left in the day. I know some people want to milk every second out of their travel, but we need time to breath and reset and also sleep.
I have lots of beautiful photos and journals to share with you to come later! If you have any questions please ask in the comments!